Recovery after Liposuction – Tips, Timeline and FAQs

Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures for achieving a contoured and sculpted body. It can help remove stubborn fat cells on the hips, buttocks, thighs, arms, any problem area, and gives you a shapely body. Liposuction is not a weight loss solution, it is ideal for those who wish to target fat cells in a particularly stubborn area. Here are Dr Carmen’s best ideas for recovery after liposuction.

Top Melbourne Specialist Plastic Surgeon Dr Carmen performs small volume Liposuction as its own procedure and in combination with many breast and body surgeries. Please avoid any cosmetic surgeon offering high volume liposuction.

One of the most important concerns people have about Liposuction surgery is what to expect afterwards – during the recovery phase in order to get the best liposuction results.

Download Dr Carmen’s Guide to Liposuction

Guide Liposuction


What to expect after liposuction

  • Short term Liposuction recovery is completed around one week and you can return to work after this time frame.
  • Medium term recovery after Liposuction involves complete healing and is generally spread over a period of four to six weeks.
  • Long term recovery relates to actual results. It takes about three months for the swelling to completely go away. At this point, you will be able to see the true results of the liposuction surgery. 

Dr Carmen’s SIX Best Practices for Recovery after Liposuction

Post-surgery is always a time for investing in your own healing, this will give you faster and more effective result – less swelling or pain, better movement, and more effective scar reduction.

  1. Swelling is very normal; this will cause difficulty with muscle movements and general stiffness when walking
  2. Daily showering is OK during the hospital stay once the drain tubes have been removed. Showers should always be brief and warm (but not hot).
  3. Scar minimisation tapes encouraged for 2 – 4 months then change to silicone cream or tape.
  4. Driving is discouraged for up to 3 weeks post-surgery.  Often due to several factors – pain or stiffness, use of strong painkillers, lack of concentration and strength.
  5. Gentle short walks can commence 7 days post op, as tolerated. Distance should be no longer that 15 minutes unless advised by the clinic. Walks can be daily or even twice daily, again as tolerated, this will also depend on how sore or swollen you feel.
  6. Always wear your Support Garments – Dr Carmen firmly believes in fitted shapewear post-surgery and is insistent that it is worn for the first 6 months post op, both night and day. If you want a better result – wear your garments.


Liposuction Recovery Stages

Immediately after surgery, Dr Carmen will use a compression garment over the treated areas. Here is how the liposuction results week by week will look like:

A Few Hours Post Liposuction 

The anaesthesia will start to wear off and you might begin to feel slight discomfort. The level of soreness differs based on the area where liposuction is done. You will be given pain killers to deal with any potential discomfort. You will be asked to stay overnight at the hospital for monitoring. It is essential as Dr Carmen needs to monitor fluid changes in the body and make sure you are not dehydrated.

First Three Days Post Lipo

You will be asked to wear a compression garment along with wound dressings on the treatment site. You must keep the garment on day and night to reduce swelling quickly and support your tissues. It is one of the best tips for faster and better recovery.

In certain cases, Dr Carmen might place small drains at the surgical site to prevent fluid build-up. You might have them removed before leaving hospital or in for a couple of days until she decides to remove them. During this time, you might experience moderate discomfort but it is fairly manageable with medication.

Make sure that you are taking all your medications on time. Avoid all kinds of unnecessary activities and rest as much as possible. Get a family member or a friend to help support you around the house. 

Weeks 1-2 Post Lipo

By the end of week one, you will notice a significant reduction in discomfort. You can usually stop taking your pain meds. At this point, most people can go back to work. If your job is physically active, Dr Carmen will recommend taking two weeks off. Limit your physical activities and aim at resting as much as you possibly can. Keep on wearing the compression garments to help with swelling. 

Weeks 3-5 Post Lipo

You will begin to start feeling like yourself again by the end of week three or four. You should not experience any soreness. However, you will still have swelling around the treatment site. You will start to see the early results of the surgery by the end of week four. You can start doing light exercises but still avoid any strenuous activities and heavy lifting. 

Week 6 and Beyond Post Lipo 

By the end of week six, most of the swelling and bruising will be gone. The longer you wear your support garments the better your result. You can enjoy the results of the lipo which will continue to improve over time. 

Tips for Recovery after Liposuction

These tips can help you have a smooth recovery

1. Compression Garment

The more you wear your compression garment – night and day – the better your result will be. The compression garment drains the excess fluid, minimizes swelling, discomfort, and bruising along with speeding up recovery. 

2. Medication

Dr Carmen will prescribe you certain anti-inflammatory medications to minimize discomfort post-surgery. Do not skip your medications under any circumstances. 

3. Swelling

Once your dressings are removed, you can use ice to reduce swelling. Once you are healed enough, you may consider a lymphatic drainage massage to accelerate the recovery. Take anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief. Keep wearing a compression garment. 

4. Rest 

Rest is one of the most important elements of recovery. Rest as much as you possibly can for the first three to ten days. It allows your body to heal at a faster pace. For the first few days, get someone to help you around the house so you can take your time. It is also recommended to take two weeks of leave from work. 

5. Exercise

You can start walking lightly around the house for the initial five days. Avoid all kinds of strenuous activities and heavy lifting for the first 6 weeks.

6. Avoid Smoking, Alcohol and Blood Thinners

You must stay clear of smoking, blood-thinning medications, herbal supplements and alcohol for at least four to six weeks after liposuction. All of these things can lead to intense bruising and swelling which could be avoided. 

7. Eating/Drinking

You need to eat healthily. Nourish your body from within with healthy foods so that you can recover quickly. Make sure that you are eating a lot of protein, combined with high fibre fruits and vegetables. Do not eat too many salty foods as they can worsen the swelling. Aim at drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. It is best to avoid colas and other sugary drinks. 

8. Attend Follow Up Appointments

Dr Carmen will call you in for a couple of follow-up appointments to ensure you are healing at the right pace and there are no complications. Some patients skip their follow-up appointments. Don’t be one of them – prioritize your recovery and health. 

9. Sleeping – How to Sleep better after Liposuction

For the first three weeks of the surgery, it is recommended to sleep at an incline on your head and knees. Do not sleep on your side as it can put excessive stress on the treatment sites. 

10. Avoid Baths and Still Water

Avoid soaking your body in a bathtub or any kind of still water for at least four weeks post-liposuction. It can risk infection. Use a quick shower to wash your body and dry it afterwards. Keep your body clean and dry at all times to avoid infection.

11. Clothing

Prepare in advance for surgery. Find some loose, comfortable and breathable clothing to wear over your compression garment. There will be a time for tight fitted clothes in the future but the recovery period is certainly not the right time. 

12. Don’t Push Yourself 

Every body is different and heals at a different pace. If your friend was up and running by week two after lipo, it doesn’t mean that you should do. Any kind of recovery post-surgery requires a lot of time and patience. Be easy with yourself, rest when you need to. If you feel tired during the day, grab a snack or take a nap. If you don’t feel like working out past week six, don’t. Listen to your body and allow it to heal and recover at its phase. 

13. Scar Minimizing Treatments 

The scars from liposuction cannula are around 1 long and are barely visible. Dr Carmen will get you started on scar minimizing treatments once your body is healed enough. The treatments can include silicone tapes and topical ointments. It is important to remember that liposuction scars can take anywhere between six months to a year to fade away completely. 

Recovery after Liposuction - Tips, Timeline and FAQs - Dr Carmen Munteanu Blog

FAQs about Recovery after Liposuction

What is the fastest way to recover from liposuction?

  • The fastest way to recover from liposuction is by following all the pre and post-care instructions closely at all times. 

How long does it take to recover from liposuction?

  • It will take you about four to six weeks to recover from liposuction surgery. The swelling takes an additional three months to go away completely. 

How painful is liposuction recovery?

  • During the first few days of recovery, you will experience a moderate level of soreness and discomfort. It is fairly manageable with the help of pain killers that will be prescribed by your surgeon. 

What can you not do after liposuction?

  • Here is a list of things you need to avoid after liposuction:
    • blood thinners
    • vigorous exercise 
    • alcohol
    • smoking
    • herbal supplements 
    • Baths 
    • Swimming
    • sodium-rich foods

How soon can you walk after liposuction?

  • You can start small ten to fifteen-minute walks, two to three days post-liposuction. You can go for longer walks after week three or four. 

What happens if you exercise too soon after liposuction?

  •  If you exercise too soon, it can increase the chances of swelling and bruising and can get a poor result. 

What happens if you don’t get a lymphatic massage after liposuction?

  • If you don’t get a lymphatic massage, your inflammation could evolve into seroma and fibrosis. Therefore, surgeons usually recommend it. 

What to do after liposuction to get the best results?

  • Here is what you need to do after liposuction:
    • Wear a compression garment 24/7, for as long as possible after surgery
    • Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet and drinking loads of water. 
    • Lightly walk around your house for a few minutes. 
    • Opt for a lymphatic drainage massage. 

How long are you swollen after lipo?

  • Most of the swelling will subside for four weeks after the surgery. 

When can I sleep on my side after liposuction?

  • Sleeping on your side is not recommended for three to four weeks post-surgery. Instead, sleep on your back. 

Do you need drains after lipo?

  • Drains are not needed for every single patient. If the surgeon feels that you require drains, Dr Carmen will place them to prevent swelling. 

Can you sit after liposuction?

  • Avoid sitting for an extended time duration for the first six weeks post-liposuction. Even when you are sitting, try to sit up straight. 

How long after Lipo Can I shower?

  • You can shower two to three days after liposuction. 

Does heat help after liposuction?

  • No, you shouldn’t apply heat to your body after liposuction. 

What helps with swelling after lipo?

  • Wearing a compression garment is one of the most effective ways to quickly get rid of swelling. 

How important is massage after liposuction? 

  • It is very important to get lymphatic drainage massage after liposuction to get rid of excess fluids. 

Can you share some tips for fast recovery after Vaser liposuction?

  • All the points mentioned in this post can help you recover faster from Vaser liposuction. To sum it up; wear a compression garment, take two weeks off from work to rest, eat a healthy diet, hydrate your body, take your medications on time, get a lymphatic drainage massage, avoid smoking, alcohol, blood-thinning medications, and herbal supplements. 

For more information read the Liposuction Procedure page


Further Reading about Liposuction with Dr Carmen


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Dr Carmen Munteanu – Specialist Plastic Surgeon

She is one of Melbourne’s most experienced and sought-after female Plastic Surgeons who offers aesthetic breast surgery and body contouring. That includes Breast Reduction, Breast Lift, Breast Implant Surgery and Body Surgery.

With over 25 years of surgical experience in Plastic Surgery, Dr Carmen firmly believes that a good surgeon is first a good doctor. She will always take into consideration all the health aspects and personal circumstances of each patient.

A dedicated Specialist Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon, Dr Carmen is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

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What to do next

Conduct Research:

Get a Medical Referral before your consultation with Dr Carmen

  • A GP referral is now essential to see Dr Carmen for any type of surgery.

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Carmen – Car parking is available on-site in Mitcham.
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options.
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes.
  • Photos will be taken as part of your consultation, please try and wear black underwear.
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided.

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book your Consultation with Dr Carmen

  • You can book your consultation with Dr Carmen Munteanu by paying the $300 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

‘Your Goal is my Priority’
– Dr Carmen Munteanu

M.D. FRACS(Plas) Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon

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Call 1300 652 468 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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